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Former TSA Administrator Kip Hawley Dies at Age 68

"His legacy was a model for compassionate public service, innovation, and customer service which remains a cornerstone at TSA today," Pekoske says.

Former Transportation Security Administration leader Edmund “Kip” Hawley has died at age 68, the current agency head announced.

Hawley passed away Monday at his home in Pacific Grove, Calif.; he had been suffering from lung cancer. He is survived by his wife of 41 years, Janet, two sons, and three grandchildren.

“It is with a heavy heart that I share the loss of former TSA Administrator Kip Hawley,” tweeted TSA Administrator David Pekoske. “His legacy was a model for compassionate public service, innovation, and customer service which remains a cornerstone @TSA today. The #TSAWorkforce stands with Kip’s family and loved ones.”

Hawley was an editorial board member for GTSC’s Homeland Security Today. He began his career as a reporter for WBRU and then a Senate aide before serving as deputy assistant secretary at the Department of Transportation from 1981 to 1983. He served as a special assistant to the president until 1985 before leaving for the private sector, where his roles included being a VP at Citicorp and Union Pacific as well as president and CEO at Skyway.

Beginning a month after the 9/11 attacks, the former administrator took unpaid leave from Arzoon, a supply-chain software company in Silicon Valley, to advise DOT in the creation of TSA. From 2002 to 2005 Hawley served as chairman of the 

After TSA, Hawley worked as a consultant on risk management, security innovation, process design, change management, complex adaptive systems, and technology. He wrote the book Permanent Emergency: Inside the TSA and the Fight for the Future of American Security, released in 2013.

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Ranking Member John Katko (R-N.Y.) said in a joint statement that Hawley “played an integral role in the stand-up of TSA in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks” and the homeland security community “is saddened to lose an important contributor to the early days of TSA and the Department of Homeland Security.”

The two commended Hawley “for his service and dedication to securing our nation’s aviation system,” and said they shared “his focus on advocating for the dedicated professionals at TSA.”

“As he said in a statement for the record at our recent committee hearing on the State of TSA Twenty Years After 9/11, ‘intelligence and technology are critical to effective security, but people were – and still are – TSA’s strongest asset’,” the statement added.

The Hawley family said memorial donations may be made to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (jdrf.org), The Jerry Rubin Foundation for Cancer Care (5 Harris Ct, Bldg T, Suite 201. Monterey, CA 93940), or “another charitable organization that celebrates Kip’s caring and selfless spirit.”

Leave a tribute at the online memorial here.

This article was updated on 3/27

Bridget Johnson
Bridget Johnson is the Managing Editor for Homeland Security Today. A veteran journalist whose news articles and analyses have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe, Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor and a foreign policy writer at The Hill. Previously she was an editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and syndicated nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. Bridget is a terrorism analyst and security consultant with a specialty in online open-source extremist propaganda, incitement, recruitment, and training. She hosts and presents in Homeland Security Today law enforcement training webinars studying a range of counterterrorism topics including conspiracy theory extremism, complex coordinated attacks, critical infrastructure attacks, arson terrorism, drone and venue threats, anti-Semitism and white supremacists, anti-government extremism, and WMD threats. She is a Senior Risk Analyst for Gate 15 and a private investigator. Bridget is an NPR on-air contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, New York Observer, National Review Online, Politico, New York Daily News, The Jerusalem Post, The Hill, Washington Times, RealClearWorld and more, and has myriad television and radio credits including Al-Jazeera, BBC and SiriusXM.

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